The purpose of this module is to provoke thought, provide some information and tools, and generate some discussion about building a culture of civility in our individual units/departments as well as campus-wide. Please feel free to use the facilitation guide as a resource to help facilitate a discussion about civility in your department, work unit, classroom, and/or residence hall. You will be issued a printable certificate upon completion of the brief survey at the end.
CREDITS: Developed by Marlo Goldstein Hode and Niki Stanley on behalf of the University of Missouri's Chancellor's Diversity Initiative and with the support of the Show Me Respect Civility Committee. Used with permission by Fresno State.
Every day in a myriad of small ways, our campus community commits small and large acts of civility, kindness, and thoughtfulness. For more information on civility, please visit the President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity webpage
Cherri "is kind, respectful and courteous when performing her work as a custodian. Every morning she greets faculty, staff and students with bright eyes and a beautiful smile."
"Joni came back to co-workers and restarted a conversation she felt she had ended abruptly."
"Heather took a bag of groceries to a student who has no food until Thanksgiving break."
"Jim was gracious. He gave words of encouragement and compliments to coworkers. He took the time to be sensitive to others needs."
"Ashley helped raise the spirits of a student worker who she knew was
going to have a particularly long day. Ashley baked cupcakes for the
student and staff to celebrate the student's birthday."
Civility doesn't just happen (at least not all of the time.) Civility is often a conscious choice. . . sometimes it even takes great effort.
However, the pay-off makes it well worth it because by consciously choosing to act civilly to each other, we contribute to a workplace and community where everyone can thrive.
Incivility is counterproductive social–organizational behavior ranging
on a scale from rudeness to aggression to overt threatening behaviors.
The following scenarios represent some 'typical' academic and workplace
civility issues. We do not suggest that there is any 'right' way to approach
any of these situations. Instead, we illustrate a variety of choices that one
might make in these types of situations. As you will see, each approach
has potential desired outcomes and potential undesired outcomes.
The purpose of this activity is to get you thinking about different
ways we can address incivility, while at the same time realizing
that the issue is complex and there are no easy answers.
We hope this will spark conversation between you and
your colleagues, so that you can work together to
create a workplace where there is a balance between
individual vs. collective needs, responsibilities,
In the break room, you overhear Bob, an older male co-worker telling a joke about Mexicans. Last week, you heard him telling a joke about obese women. You know he is trying to be funny and maybe the person he's telling the jokes to finds them funny, but you find them offensive. Bob is generally a nice guy, but you don't completely trust him. In any case, you work in the same unit and you don't want to make any enemies.
You are an administrative assistant in an academic department. You have a doctor's appointment scheduled during your lunch break. Just as you are getting ready to leave, a faculty member comes into the office and hands you a stack of papers and says that she needs 100 copies right away. This is not the first time this faculty has come in with last minute demands. You tell her that you need to leave because you have an appointment. The faculty member loudly says, "What you need to do is your job. This cannot wait, I have class in 20 minutes!"
Every day when you come into the office, you say "Good morning" to those who are already there, as well as to those who come in after you. You feel this is a simple act of common courtesy. You find it really unpleasant that one of your office mates does not even look up from the computer when you greet her in the morning. Although others return your greeting, it still makes you feel bad that this person ignores you.
You teach a large, lecture style class. You are frustrated with the behavior of many of the students. Some students do not pay attention and instead text on their phones or surf the internet. Other students challenge your lectures in a disrespectful way, using disparaging language. And some simply ask a question that shows that they had not listened to what you just said.